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United Arab Emirates in pictures - Dubai
In brief +
Dubai is the first emirate city to have been put on the map and now, the adult playground, needs no introduction. Abu Dhabi, its older sister, is a little less wild and is more of an administrative and residential emirate city. The next emirate to haul itself onto the tourist map is Ras al-Khaimah due to its orange deserts, blue waters lined by white sand beaches and pearl fishing legacy. Ajman and Sharjah are much smaller emirates and are fairly residential. Umm al-Quwain is also very quiet and offers few specific reasons to visit.
The United Arab Emirates is governed by the equivalent of kings, or Sheikhs, as they are locally known. The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan was the founding sheikh of the Emirates in 1962, when oil was first discovered in Abu Dhabi. His eldest son, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, succeeded as ruler of Abu Dhabi and per the country's constitution, he also became president of the UAE. Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan succeeded Khalifa as Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. In January 2006, Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the prime minister of the UAE and the ruler of Dubai, died, and the crown prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum assumed both roles.
The UAE, Bahrain and Qatar, were under British protection and rule until the late 1960s, when the countries were given their independence. It wasn't until 1972 that the seven emirates agreed to form the UAE federation.
Although the UAE is one of the most lenient countries in the Gulf, there are strict laws to follow that do not apply back home. It is against the law to bring in any sort of illegal drug, to drink and be drunk in public, to show any sort of affection towards the opposite sex or any sort of homosexual behaviour in public.
Men should avoid wearing sleeveless tops in the city, and women should cover their shoulders and legs and should avoid wearing low-cut tops outside of hotels - otherwise expect unwanted stares in your direction from the locals and the Muslim expatriate communities.
Despite being the capital of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi is still a city in waiting. With the Guggenheim and the Louvre outposts opening in 2017, and several other art-based projects in the pipeline, the city lacks an all-round appeal that Dubai already has. Abu Dhabi attracts business travellers ...
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